Why do stay-at-home moms have a high rate of depression?

Many people think stay-at-home moms have the perfect job. You spend all day at home taking care of your child without the stress or pressure of working a real job. But the reality is much different, which is why depression is so common in parents who stay at home to look after their children. 

Note: It’s not just stay-at-home moms who frequently suffer from depression. Any parent who stays home to look after their children can be affected by feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, and sadness.

There are many different causes of the depression stay-at-home moms may experience. Sometimes the condition is caused by the responsibilities stay-at-home parents face. Other times, it can be general depression which is intensified by the parenting responsibilities.

Here are some of the primary reasons people who stay home to look after their children are depressed:

High expectations

Most parents who stay at home are expected to take on the everyday errands and chores needed to maintain a household. As you’re physically present in the house while your partner is at work, you’re probably the one left to handle things such as cooking dinner, doing the laundry, and grocery shopping, all on top of childrearing. 

This can easily leave you burnt out. Especially when your partner may not understand why everything didn’t get done, “Even though you were home all day”. 

Long hours

Being a stay-at-home parent never ends. While some people are able to clock out as soon as they leave the office, you’re always on call. When your child is asleep, you’ve still got chores to take care of and the challenge of keeping your home tidy when the odds seem stacked against you.

Even if your partner pitches in during weekends, it’s still not the same. You can’t enjoy an entirely peaceful, stress-free weekend. You’ve still got to be a parent.

No breaks

Being a stay-at-home parent can be incredibly monotonous. Not only do you have a huge to-do list, but it likely repeats almost every day. This can make you feel like you’re living the same 24 hours over and over, indefinitely.

Without being able to change your routine or take a break, it’s easy to feel dragged down and underappreciated. 

Work alone

When you spend almost all your time at home with your child, feelings of isolation are bound to appear. This is especially true if you’ve got a very young child. Without social interaction with other adults, you may feel lonely and separate from the rest of the world.

Even if you keep in touch with other parents, it’s common to experience a loss of identity. When you become a stay-at-home parent, so much of your life revolves around your child that it’s easy to think there’s nothing more to your personality than a childcarer.

Lack of recognition

Everyone likes to be told they’re doing a good job, whatever it is they’re doing. This is just as true for people meeting their targets in the corporate world as it is for parents taking care of their children at home. But instead of being appreciated for all the hard work you put in every day, you might feel disillusioned from lack of recognition for anything you do.

If your partner’s never stayed at home for a long time to look after your family, they may not understand. Instead of seeing everything you consistently do each day, they may only notice the things you haven’t done. 

Signs of depression

If the above sounds familiar, you may be depressed. While there are many different types of depression with varying types and intensities of symptoms, most of them share come core indicators. You may be depressed if you experience one or more of the following:

  • Feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, hopelessness, or sadness
  • Restlessness, frustration, or irritability
  • Loss of enthusiasm for activities you once enjoyed
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Problems remembering, thinking clearly, making decisions, or concentrating
  • Stomachaches, headaches, or back pain
  • Persistent thoughts of suicide or death

Seeing your doctor or therapist is one of the first things you should do when you experience signs of depression. The sooner you reach out, the faster you can get the help you need. 

Get in touch

If you’re a stay-at-home parent finding it difficult to cope, you don’t need to struggle on your own. The emotions you’re experiencing are real and you can manage them successfully with the right help. Our Cyti therapists are trained in science-backed techniques that are proven to treat depression.

No matter how long you’ve been feeling like this, we can help you determine the cause of your problem and provide you with the skills you need to start feeling like yourself again. Schedule your first appointment today and we’ll guide you along the journey to creating a healthier, happier tomorrow.

About the author: Sonya Parrott

Sonya is a Marriage and Family Therapist with over 13 years of experience in the mental health field. Her background includes working with Families, Adults, teens, and children in individual, family, couple, and group settings. She has extensive experience and training in the areas of Anxiety, Depression, Substance Use, Post Traumatic Stress, Family conflict, and Codependency.

Read more about Sonya here >>

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741